Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious demonetisation campaign has sparked a new diplomatic row between New Delhi and Islamabad —two south Asian nuclear armed neighbours with strained ties.
The Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi has lodged a formal protest with India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) against refusal of cash to its diplomatic staff by their bankers raising fears of a tit-for-tat response by Islamabad.
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Pakistan would be forced to take similar steps against the Indian mission in Islamabad, unless remedial measures are taken to help Pakistani diplomats posted in Delhi, The Hindu quoted a senior Pakistani official as saying.
While the MEA said it will “look into” the complaint filed by the mission, Pakistani diplomats said the trouble faced by them is not related to demonetisation. “We are finding it difficult to perform our duties as the bank where we conduct our transactions has been refusing to let us withdraw cash. This is an unprecedented challenge as the bank is declining our legitimate requests to withdraw our own money,” said a diplomat.
Banks in India require for diplomats to provide documentation on purpose of withdrawal, for any amount over $5,000, according to Economic Times.
“We have sent a note verbale [note of protest] regarding the issue and hope that MEA will not force us to take a similar step against the Indian mission,” the diplomat added. Diplomatic missions have been facing the brunt of a cash crunch as non-availability of Indian currency is preventing them from executing vital duties.
The Pakistani official went on to say that the concerned bank had not been allowing the diplomatic staff to withdraw cash from their own account, “which is an addition to the hardships we are facing because of the demonetisation.”
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Responding to the issue, an official of the MEA acknowledged the receipt of note verbale from the mission and said, “We have discussed the issue and will look into the complaint of the Pakistan High Commission.” The official said that the Pakistani diplomats remain entitled to their salaries and the problem was likely to be resolved.
This article originally appeared on The Hindu
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